Swimming World September 2021 Presents – The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games: Like No Other

Swimming World September 2021 Presents - The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games - Like No Other
[PHOTO COURTESY ROBERT HANASHIRO / USA Today Sports]

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The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games: Like No Other

By John Lohn

There has never been an Olympics like the one held in Tokyo from July 23 through Aug. 8. Even the Games themselves were known as the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games despite the fact that the actual event was held a year later! Yet, once the competition got started—at venues without any spectators—the XXXII Olympiad provided all of the anticipated emotions, surprises, goal fulfillments and more.

TOKYO—It was all supposed to go down last summer, Tokyo the centerpiece of the sporting world. Champions crowned. Iconic performances recorded. Moments of redemption. Upsets. Tears of elation. Tears of heartache. There would be a little bit of everything, and something for all.

Of course, the original plan was shredded. The COVID-19 pandemic, in all its tragic fury, changed the world. Amid the loss of lives and shifting daily environments, the 32nd edition of the Olympic Games was postponed, and while that decision paled in comparison to the life-altering effects of the coronavirus, athletes saw their dreams put on hold.

If the yearlong delay felt like an eternity—to competitors, fans and media—what transpired in Tokyo proved worth the wait once the Games were held in the Japanese capital.

Let’s take a look, and appreciate, what the Tokyo Games delivered:

JOB DONE
As hyped as any Olympian in Tokyo, Caeleb Dressel couldn’t avoid the comparisons. Due to his vast potential for an epic medal haul, Dressel was linked to United States icons Michael Phelps, Mark Spitz and Matt Biondi. All along, Dressel emphasized that he just wanted to do his thing—and be recognized for his ability.

Shouldn’t be a problem any longer.

As the United States topped the medal count in Tokyo, with 30 pieces of hardware and 11 gold medals, Dressel was nothing short of phenomenal. The 24-year-old from Florida collected five gold medals (three of them solo), set an individual world record and joined his relay teammates for another, and deftly managed the immense pressure that was placed on his shoulders even before the COVID delay.

Coming off a pair of World Championships (2017 and 2019) in which he starred for the Red, White and Blue, Dressel affirmed his status as the sport’s leading face at his second Games by negotiating a gauntlet of challenges—from the United States topping a stout field in the 400 freestyle relay (3:08.97) to beating a stacked British squad in the 400 medley relay, a world record of 3:26.78 getting the job done for Ryan Murphy, Michael Andrew, Dressel and Zach Apple. In between those relays, Dressel turned back Australian rival Kyle Chalmers in the 100 free (47.02 to 47.08), fended off Hungarian threat Kristof Milak in the 100 fly with a world record (49.45 to 49.68) and waltzed to gold in the 50 free (21.07).

“I tried to convince myself that Worlds was the same, and it’s the same competition, but it’s a lot different here,” Dressel said. “It’s a different kind of pressure, and I’m aware of that now and I can stop lying to myself. It means something different. It only happens every four years for a reason, and it’s 20-something seconds or 40-something seconds. You have to be so perfect in that moment, especially if you have another year, a five-year buildup—or
a 24-year buildup, whatever you want to call it. There’s so much pressure on one moment. Your whole life boils down to one moment that can take 20 or 40 seconds. How crazy is that?”

 

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Swimming World September 2021 - Golden Boy Caeleb Dressel Puts On A Show In Tokyo With 5 Gold Medals and 2 World Records - COVER
[PHOTO BY ROB SCHUMACHER / USA Today Sports]

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FEATURES

2020 TOKYO OLYMPIC GAMES
by John Lohn, Dan D’Addona, 
Matthew De George and David Rieder

010  |  LIKE NO OTHER
There has never been an Olympics like the one held in Tokyo from July 23 through Aug. 8. Even the Games themselves were known as the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games despite the fact that the actual event was held a year later! Yet, once the competition got started—at venues without any spectators—the XXXII Olympiad provided all of the anticipated emotions, surprises, goal fulfillments and more.

014 | MALE PERFORMANCE OF THE MEET: Caeleb Dressel (100 Fly)

014 | FEMALE PERFORMANCE OF THE MEET: Tatjana Schoenmaker (200 Breast)

015 | BEST WOMEN’S RELAY PERFORMANCE: Australia (400 Freestyle Relay)

016 | BEST MEN’S RELAY PERFORMANCE: USA (400 Medley Relay)

017 | BEST INDIVIDUAL RELAY PERFORMANCE: Adam Peaty (100 Breast/400 Medley Relay)

018 | BIGGEST UPSET/SURPRISE: Ahmed Hafnaoui (400 Free) & Lydia Jacoby (100 Breast)

019 | BREAKOUT PERFORMER: Bobby Finke (800 and 1500 Free)

020 | COUNTRY ON THE RISE: Italy

021 | RESILIENCE AWARD: Sarah Sjostrom (50 Free)

022 | OLYMPIC PHOTO GALLERY

027  |  RETURN TO NO. 1
by David Rieder
After a two-season absence as Swimming World’s girls’ high school national champions, Carmel High School (Ind.) has returned to claim its seventh overall team title since 2011.

029  |  SWIMMING WORLD MAGAZINE’S GIRLS’ NATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL CHAMPIONSHIPS MOCK HEAT SHEET
by Bob Klapthor

031  | MAKING HISTORY
by Dan D’Addona
Carmel High School (Ind.) is the first school in 21 years to have both its girls’ and boys’ swimming teams win Swimming World’s national high school championships in the same year—a feat last accomplished by Bolles (Fla.) in 2000.

033  |  SWIMMING WORLD MAGAZINE’S BOYS’ NATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL CHAMPIONSHIPS MOCK HEAT SHEET
by Bob Klapthor

COACHING

038  |  WHAT COACHES WISH PROSPECTS KNEW ABOUT RECRUITING
by Michael J. Stott
When it comes to college recruiting, swim coaches agree: they’re looking at much more than swimming times. They’re evaluating the whole package: academic, athletic, personal… and more!

041  |  SPECIAL SETS: ERIN GEMMELL—OLYMPIC BLOODLINES
by Michael J. Stott
Bruce Gemmell of Nation’s Capital Swim Club provides an interesting capsule of coaching for his 16-year-old daughter, Erin, as she prepared for her first U.S. Olympic Trials experience and earned a spot on the U.S. Junior team headed for the Berlin and Budapest World Cup stops in October.

043  |  Q&A WITH COACH JEFF JULIAN
by Michael J. Stott

044  |  HOW THEY TRAIN  TRENTON JULIAN
by Michael J. Stott

TRAINING

037   |  DRYSIDE TRAINING:  GOLD MEDAL WORKOUT (PART 2)
by J.R. Rosania

JUNIOR SWIMMER

047  |  UP & COMERS:  HENRY WEBB
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COLUMNS

008  |  A VOICE FOR THE SPORT

040  |  THE OFFICIAL WORD

046  |  HASTY HIGH POINTERS

048  |  GUTTERTALK

049  |  PARTING SHOT

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